British lawmakers have strongly criticized former Prime Minister, David Cameron’s role in the UK’s 2011 Libyan intervention saying that it was based upon flawed intelligence, drifted from a policy of protecting civilian life into one of active regime change and shirked the moral responsibility it had to reconstruct the country following the ousting of Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi.
Libya’s post 2011 collapse has had a major impact upon both Tunisia’s security and economy. Further to the loss of the country’s most significant trading partner, has been the continued risk posed by the radical Islamic groups that have flourished in the absence of any political stability. Several of the most significant terror attacks to have occurred within Tunisia have been planned, equipped and directed from the country’s southeastern neighbor, with the continued fighting in Libya again raising the potential threat of militant infiltration.
Britain, in partnership with France, led the 2011 international intervention into Libya, ostensibly to protect civilians in Benghazi from regime attack. an objective that was achieved within 24 hours, the British parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee found, before the scope of military operations widened. “The UK’s actions in Libya were part of an ill-conceived intervention, the results of which are still playing out today,” said committee chairman Crispin Blunt, a member of Cameron’s Conservative party.
“UK policy in Libya before and since the intervention of March 2011 was founded on erroneous assumptions and an incomplete understanding of the country and the situation.”
The committee’s statement said the “ultimate responsibility rests with David Cameron’s leadership”.
Though dramatic, today’s report is not the first time the European intervention in Libya has received high profile criticism. In March, US President, Barack Obama privately termed British and French action in Libya a “shit show” reserving specific ire for the two countries’ failure to provide any support to Libya following military action.
Instability in Libya continues to prove an obstacle to securing any form of lasting peace within the country. The UN backed government in Tripoli has so far failed to garner widespread support across the country, while the formerly internationally recognized government in Tobruk continues to act independently of the UN body. Both governments are currently engaged in separate military campaigns, with forces currently allied to the UN backed government engaged in a four month old campaign against ISIS, (Daesh) in Sirte and the Tobruk based government in seizing control of the oil refineries surrounding the Sirte oil basin.
David Cameron was British Prime Minister from May 2010 to his resignation after the country voted to leave the European Union in July 2016. He resigned as a Member of Parliament on Monday.
Prior to joining Tunisia Live, Simon worked as a freelance journalist. He has lived in Tunisia since 2013 and previously worked in Vietnam and Moscow.